The National’s Aaron Dessner appeared on Friday’s Tonight Show to perform his collaborative side project Big Red Machine’s “The Ghost of Cincinnati.”
The performance was in sharp contrast to Big Red Machine’s last late-night appearance in September, when Dessner brought a battalion of musicians — including Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, the National’s Scott Devendorf, Anais Mitchell and about a half-dozen more — to deliver “New Auburn” on The Late Show. This time around, it was just Dessner and his acoustic guitar.
“The Ghost of Cincinnati” features on Big Red Machine’s latest LP How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, which arrived in August. While Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon are co-founders of the group, the LP features an all-star cast of collaborators, including Taylor Swift (“Renegade“), Sharon Van Etten, Mitchell, Fleet Foxes, My Brightest Diamond, Lisa Hannigan, This Is My Kit, and members of the National, Big Thief and more.
“That’s what makes it special,” Dessner — who worked on Swift’s sister LPs Folklore and Evermore — previously said of the album in a statement. “With everyone that’s on this record, there’s an openness, a creative generosity, and an emotional quality that connects it all together.”